Wrong Body or Wrong World?

Watch this. Watch all of it, and remind yourself of what it means to be human. And how radical it would be if we cared for each other more than the state would like.

Support Alok here.

Almost every morning this last week, I have asked myself, “What is the point?” And Alok’s words, “I wasn’t born in the wrong body. I was born in the wrong world.” helped me to make sense of that. This world is too brutal and unkind, so of course I am asking whether my life makes a difference, and whether it is worth being or discovering who I am. America’s society and our nation discourage community and care, because community and care are unprofitable and unimaginable. As Alok reminds us, we live in a nation where healthcare is inaccessible, where land and space has been stolen and portioned off, where we violently enforce the boundaries of who we are allowed to be.

As Alok says, I have to outsource the work of making sense of my trauma, even if it is hard for me to afford it. I woke up this morning to an email from my spiritual director, who I see because my communities are not enough to help me make sense of the brokenness inside and outside of me. She wrote,

“Learning how to focus on our union with God, thus our truest self, takes time, effort, and patience with ourselves. Most of all, it means we have to learn to love ourselves with a wholesome healing love which we receive while and when we are in union with God. I don’t mean to be trite when I offer you the advice Rainer Maria Rilke wrote in his Letters to a Young Poet–

…I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear Sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

I sat with these words, wishing that I could be patient, when my questions were less like locked doors and more like doors with rattling knobs, shaking violently, made with brittle, rotting wood. I sat with these words, numb, and expressionless, so I was asked, “Is everything alright with your email?” because it seems more likely that I am focused being productive early in the morning, than searching for answers to the questions of my soul from a stranger who I pay to see.

This afternoon, I read charts at a psychiatric rehabilitation center and I was struck by how persistent self-harm and suicide attempts can be. What great lengths people go to hurt and kill themselves. I could only wonder and imagine what great pain and trauma they must be feeling, so that they are more likely to hurt and kill themselves than to love and assert themselves.

“I wasn’t born in the wrong body. I was born in the wrong world.”


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